The Nature of Personal Growth


There is beauty of all kinds in each stage of our growth.  Whether we are courageously turning towards our pain or celebrating a truth that has sunk that much deeper, our personal growth happens uniquely and surely through all the ins and outs of our path. All these ins and outs serve us as we move through them, empowering us along our way, giving light for the next step before us. Ins and outs such as…

Confusion~ Our hungry hearts feel lost, frightened, hopeless yet hoping… We are drawn to sort through our realities to find the answers. We feel the angst of not knowing but we also feel that there is an answer we can find…

Rest~ To grow at one speed all the time would exhaust us. Here and there we take a breath, draw from self-compassion, be gracious with ourselves and say, “It’s okay. I can rest for awhile and no ground will be lost.”

Anger~ This surge of feeling that says, “This or that is not right.” It’s a profound knowing that things were not as they should have been.  We allow ourselves to feel ripped off. Sometimes anger gets stored up for a long time and surprises/scares us when we first let it have some space. The more we honor it,  the more we will be able to understand where it comes from and we can let it pass through.

Fear~ Because we don’t know everything… The journey is a “one step at a time” thing into brand new territory. We don’t have previous experience, so how can we know exactly what to expect? Fear is always one of the doorways at the threshold to a new phase of growth.

Joy~ A deep re-awakening of our worth and value that we never knew before or had lost along the way. A bubbling kind of peace that feels light and deeply satisfying at the same time… That unstoppable feeling that works its way to the place between our ears and our cheeks and urges a smile.

Excitement~ which may feel uncomfortable and freak us out! I have long been wary, doubtful and afraid of my excitement because I had never learned how good it actually was. I doubted so much about myself that I often linked excitement to some kind of selfishness or a misguided way to make myself more important than I really was. I had learned to “temper” my excitement so that it wouldn’t intimidate others or get me “carried away”. As we heal, excitement is reborn. It’s a whole new energy inside, connected to our purpose, that celebrates what is happening and looks forward to what will come.

Disappointment~ Because nothing is ever perfect. Disappointment is something we pass through. It’s normal. Without letting it evolve into guilt, shame or beating ourselves up, disappointment can help us become more successful at getting what we really want next time.

Observation~ of ourselves, of how things “work”, of how far we have come. Observation means I don’t have to figure it all out at once. I can let my eyes do some work for me and let time sort out the puzzle pieces as they come into focus.

Action~ For when we feel ready or sometimes just before we feel ready… We put shoes on our new truth. We want to try it out, test it out, go somewhere with it, build new and fulfilling things on our new foundation. Our new understandings on the inside take shape on the outside. Action works best from the inside out.

Patience~ Truth plants the seeds in our souls. Sometimes these seeds blossom quickly. Others require more time to take root and flourish. There are no rules or timelines when it comes to our growth. Each of us will own a unique story.

To you as you move along your journey. Please feel free to expand on my list from your own experience!


9 response to "The Nature of Personal Growth"

  1. By: Cindy Leigh Posted: 20th May

    Great help Carla. Fear is a big one for me right now. In my having trouble moving forward I have identified fear to be one of my problems. Recently I came across this quote by Charles Spurgeon and I have applied it to my fear. He uses the word depression, but I think there is a lot of fear at the root of my depression.

    “This depression comes over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my ministry; the cloud is black before it breaks, and overshadows before it yields its deluge of mercy. Depression has now become to me as a prophet in rough clothing, a John the Baptist, heralding the nearer coming of my Lord’s richer benison.”
    Charles Spurgeon

    Now I am trying to look at my fear as a signal for greater things to come. While Spurgeon states “Depression has now become to me as a prophet…..heralding the nearer coming of my Lord’s richer benison” I replace “depression” with “fear” and “richer benison” with “new growth” in my life.

    Somehow I feel more hopeful and the power of the fear is deflated a bit.

    As always I enjoyed your blog and everyone’s comments. I continue to gain more and more insight every time I visit with the community at Emerging From Broken.

    Love and appreciation to you and Darlene,
    Cindy Leigh

    • By: Carla Dippel Posted: 20th May

      Cindy, thank you for being here and contributing your insight too. I love that truth, that the fear is just in front of the “new life” that we are growing into, it’s a natural part of the process. I agree that fear can be at the root of depression; I also believe that when I dig down to why my fears are there, I can see the misguided beliefs that are fueling the fear. Working to change those beliefs helps to dissipate the fear as well. Love to you too Cindy ~ Carla

  2. By: Carla Dippel Posted: 19th May

    Splinteredones, I can totally relate to what you say! Yes, we can be going through more than one of these at the same time for sure. That was something that was really freeing for me to learn in my therapy, that our growth happens at all different stages in different areas of our life, so we can be going through various growth pains at the same time. This helped me to validate and embrace my WHOLE self- to know that I could still be healthy even though some areas were “slower growing” than others. Knowing that is incredibly hopeful… Thanks for bringing up that point. Hugs to you! 🙂

    Patricia, you express it so well. I love your thoughts on courage. I think fear, more often than not, is trying to protect us from further pain. It’s kind of short-sighted but very real at the same time. And sometimes fear is important, outside of how I’m writing about it here (I’m writing more about the fear we feel as we pursue our personal growth, fear of moving forward etc). Some kinds of fear are definitely worth listening to. But other kinds just keep us held back and in the dark, keep us “missing out.” Thanks again for being here Patricia and contributing your valuable insight.

  3. By: Carla Dippel Posted: 19th May

    Welcome here Kilobugs! Thanks for reading and sharing your honest feedback. If this helps, I see fear more as a feeling than a decision or something that only paralyzes us. I have felt fear many times but still moved forward towards what I wanted to do- for me, that’s what courage is. Feeling the fear but moving ahead in spite of it- without fear, we wouldn’t need courage. I hope that helps with your confusion. Thanks for your comment~ you gave me the opportunity to expand on the “fear” part!

    Ligeia~ thank you so much for sharing from your journey here. You are courageous (I liked your blog too!). I like how you describe your anger as being a very fluid thing now. I can relate to that. It took me a long time to understand why I was even angry because my abuse was more subtly psychological/emotional and very passive. So my anger just felt like this layer that was just there all the time. The more I understood why it was there, the more I could work underneath it towards healing. Thank you so much, and hugs to you too!

  4. By: Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker Posted: 19th May

    Being on the path to recovery doesn’t mean I won’t get scared any more. Every major step that I have taken in healing, fear has been there standing right beside me. Every time that I do something new to break the silence of abuse, I have fear staring me right in the face to see if I am really going to take that next step. Courage is having fear as your companion and taking that step toward healing any way. Does fear ever completely leave a survivor? Maybe, I am not there yet.

  5. By: Splinteredones Posted: 19th May

    What a great checklist. This totally echoes my path thus far. Sometimes several of these are happening moment to moment. Suppose confusion reigns supreme at these moments ;). I get from this that I have Bern given permission to feel it all without the inevitable self hatred. Thanks.

  6. By: Ligeia Posted: 19th May

    The one that I struggle with most as a constant need to be reminded is about being angry and giving it the honor it deserves.

    My whole life has been about anger where ‘you can’t get mad’ ‘you don’t have the right….’ when I finally figured out I COULD get mad and I did have the RIGHT, then I found some peace. But I spent a lot of years suppressing it and so it’s a lot of work to untangle all the trigger issues that try to ‘remind me of my place’. Dealing with the anger is a very fluid kind of thing for me as memories resurface, or more the point as I open the neat little packages of compartmentalized nightmares I have locked away I find new levels of betrayal that I have to again give myself the time to be mad about.

    This is good Carla, thank you. *hugs*

  7. By: kilobugs Posted: 19th May

    Very well said, thanks for sharing,
    i don’t understand on the fear part, i thought fear is the exact opposite of personal growth, fear makes people pull back and become shy to try anything in life, Faith is one of the characteristics of personal growth even if you are afraid you make a step forward by faith and courage!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.